About Marilène Phipps

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My Story

As a painter, Marilène Phipps has held fellowships at the Guggenheim Foundation, at Harvard University’s Bunting Institute, W.E.B. Du Bois Institute, and the Center for the Study of World Religions. Her paintings are exhibited in museum and gallery settings, in the U.S. and abroad.

As a poet, Marilène Phipps won the Grolier prize for poetry and the Crab Orchard Poetry Prize for her collection Crossroads and Unholy Water (also a finalist for the Walt Whitman prize from the Academy of American Poets), subsequently published by SI University Press. Her poetry was published in England by Carcanet Press Ltd. and can also be read in numerous American anthologies such as The Beacon Best of 1999, as well as in literary magazines such as the Harvard Divinity Bulletin, Callaloo, Ploughshares and River Styx. She is also the editor of the Jack Kerouac Collected Poems for The Library of America.

As a writer, Marilène Phipps’ collection, The Company of Heaven: Stories from Haiti, won the 2010 Iowa Short Fiction Award, published by the University of Iowa Press. Her fiction work was also selected for several anthologies, such as The Best American Short Stories 2003, and Haïti Noir: The Classics.


House of Fossils Book Cover

House of Fossils

Following her amazing memoir Unseen Worlds: Adventures at the Crossroads of Vodou Spirits and Latter-Day Saints, Marilène Phipps offers us House of Fossils, an autobiographical novel in the Joycean tradition, with the same high-octane emotionality and vivid characterization that makes all her work so riveting. 

Unseen Worlds: Adventures at the Crossroads of Vodou Spirits and Latter-day Saints

The extraordinary life of Marilène Phipps began in Haiti — the magical island of African Vodou gods who followed their devotees on the slave ships, and the world’s first black republic — the singular cultural context and exotic milieu of the Caribbean, where hell and paradise can transfix us daily.

Crossroads and Unholy Water

Marilene Phipps’s poetry invites the reader to share sharp slices of Caribbean experience: Haiti is both stage and backdrop for people who move in various strata of the social scheme and through the three stages of life, in lieu of answers to the Sphinx’s riddle.

The Company of Heaven

Marilène Phipps-Kettlewell’s award-winning stories transport you to Haiti—to a lush, lyrical, flamboyant, and spirit-filled Haiti where palm trees shine wet with moonlight and the sky paints a yellow screen over your head and the ocean sparkles with thousands of golden eyes—and keep you there forever.

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